Public opinion theory and research are becoming increasingly significant in modern societies as people’s attitudes and behaviors become ever more volatile and opinion poll data becomes ever more readily available. This major new Handbook is the first to bring together into one volume the whole field of public opinion theory, research methodology, and the political and social embeddedness of polls in modern societies. It comprehensively maps out the state-of-the-art in contemporary scholarship on these topics.

Focus Groups and Public Opinion

Focus Groups and Public Opinion

Focus groups and public opinion


This chapter examines two different ways that focus groups have played a role in public opinion. First, it looks at focus groups as a preliminary step in the development of survey questionnaires. In this case, focus groups are especially useful for generating survey content that studies new opinion topics or targets specific subgroups within the broader public. Second, it will consider focus groups as a self-sufficient or ‘stand-alone’ source of data on public opinion. In this case, focus groups provide an opportunity to hear members of the public discuss their opinions in more complex ways going beyond what people think, to an understanding of why they think the way they do. Academic researchers and those who ...

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